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back to article Apple to switch HUMAN iPhone-juicer-fiddlers with ROBOTS – report

Apple is preparing to replace the worker drones on its iPhone battery production line with robot replacements. According to industry sources in Taipei, Apple will automate its battery production later this year. It has already automated the manufacture of iMacs and Mac Pros. Younger Chinese workers are becoming less and less …

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Coat

Here I am brain the size of a planet and they ask me to make batteries!

call that job satisfaction, 'cause I don't!

Sorry, couldn't resist. Mine's the one with the radio plays in the pocket

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The magic word here is

Digitimes, take anything written by them with a large grain of salt. Any article that quotes them without a large disclaimer is courting public ridicule.

There is another reason why Apple might want to use robots BTW, they produce more consistent and reliable products. Batteries less liable to problems sounds like a good move.

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Re: The magic word here is

Or of course a whole month's worth which blow up after some (short) period due to a small failure copied to all of them...

Consistency is nothing without quality

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Re: The magic word here is

Your prototype (which you tested the heck out of) should match your production devices to a close degree. Computers and robots allow you to make the same mistake very quickly, but once you have the design sorted they are pretty good at making copies of that design. Motor manufacturers have known this for some time. All the welding in a modern car tends to be done by robots for this reason.

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Happy

Re: The magic word here is

In fact, 'hand built by Roberts' - "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU-tuY0Z7nQ"

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Robots?

Do they buy iphones because the people wont have any money with which to buy it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Robots? @Ian 45

And how having Chinese people making them would give money to the Westerners buying iPhones (which are the biggest market by far)?

I actually think the best way to get out of this dependency of Far East manufacturing and all problems arising from that is to have fully robotic factories making stuff in, you know, Europe and North America.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Robots? @Ian 45

Fully robotic factories eh? Sounds like a plan, after all, what could possibly go wrong?

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Dear Jasper,

So, a Chinese manufacturer is going to make increasing use of automation on battery production line that produces iPhone batteries? Given that increasing automation is standard practice – and has been for years – among manufacturers, I'm not even sure why this is even considered news.

Also, last time I checked, Apple didn't own any factories in China, despite constant, ignorant media bollocks to the contrary. I expect such headlines from the BBC, Stephen Fry, or the Daily Mail, but not from a website that claims to be aimed at the Information Technology industry! If I wanted to read that kind of childishness, ignorance and FUD, I'd read your article comments.

Apple isn't "switching" a damned thing: Foxconn (and other Chinese suppliers) are.

Robots aren't new to the world; they're only new to China, which has, until very recently, been able to rely on a very cheap workforce instead. That China would have to adopt them eventually was always a given: it's the nature of a "developing" nation to aim to become a "developed" nation, but the price of doing so invariably includes losing your dirt-cheap workforce.

Please, for the love of Codd, stop heading down the plughole to click-baitism. The Register ought to be better than that.

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Re: Dear Jasper,

"stop heading down the plughole to click-baitism"

Too late for Mr iHamill.

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What took so long?

For me, the only surprise here is that it hadn't already happened - particularly for something as simple as a battery. Having seen cars coming off largely-automated production lines in the 90s, the idea that even simple parts of mobile phones would still be hand-assembled two decades later seems bizarre.

As for economic impact: labour is a significant part of costs, and barely a penny of wages paid in China will get spent in Western economies anyway - so roll on robot!

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WTF?

The advantage of factories in China being?

"China is still the top choice for siting a production line, because of its pliant workforce who generally avoid strikes, the Digitimes continued."

If the stuff is made by robots, what has a "pliant workforce" got to do with anything?

Fact is anyway, as China continues to "Westernise" (financed by Westerners buying their stuff), with younger Chinese having geater expectations etc there will cease to be any advantage to siting factories there, even leaving robots out of it.

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Prediction

If in a few years Apple is able to make iPhones/iPads almost entirely by robots with human labor no longer required, Apple will be pilloried for putting hundreds of thousands of Chinese out of work!

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It seems to me...

Apple has been making noise about building things in America. If they (and not Foxconn) ARE going to buy robots, there would be advantages to doing it here and not (or in addition to, for Asian shipments) China...

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Re: It seems to me...

Even though a robotic factory costs about the same anywhere (assuming you don't try to put it in the heart of super-expensive Silicon Valley) the supply chain is still mostly based in China.

There are PR advantages to doing it here, but probably added supply management headaches. And I'm not sure if the people who buy "made in the USA" would feel the same about something made by American robots in America, rather than American workers in America...

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